Every January, Sydney Festival (January 9-26, www.sydneyfestival.org.au) enlivens and transforms Sydney (Australia) with a bold cultural celebration based on the highest quality art and big ideas. The program is kaleidoscopic in its diversity, from burlesque circus to New York rap to Russian theatre; from contemporary dance to family programs to traditional Indigenous arts practice. In all, the program comprises around 300 performances and around 100 events performed by over 1,000 artists in at least 20 venues each year. Inclusive programming, a broad range of free events and accessible pricing policies for the ticketed shows means that Sydney Festival is open to all, welcoming Sydneysiders and visitors from wherever they live. Tickets to all performances are available on the day for only $25 at the Tix for Next to Nix booth in Martin Place in the heart of Sydney’s CBD.
There’s also the famous free concerts in The Domain or Parramatta. Summer Sounds has featured the sounds of Brazil, Gypsies, New Orleans and Mali and is followed the next weekend by the orchestral power of the Sydney Symphony. Throughout January the Festival Garden is home to the Spiegeltent with a captivating program of burlesque and music which makes the most of the summer nights in the atmospheric setting of Hyde Park and Paradiso at Town Hall resonates with the energy of bands and DJs until late at night.
More than any other cultural event, Sydney Festival defines Sydney’s personality. For over three decades they have presented international artists who guarantee headlines, and whose presence in Sydney adds to the Festival’s buzz and prestige. Names like Björk, Brian Wilson, Grace Jones, Manu Chao, Elvis Costello, AR Rahman, Cate Blanchett, Ralph Fiennes, Robert Lepage, Peter Sellars and Sir Ian McKellen alongside some of the world’s great companies – Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance, Cheek by Jowl, Gate Theatre and the Schaubühne Berlin to name only a few – share the Festival with the most exciting artists and companies in Australia.
Sydney Festival’s audacious contemporary programming positions it at the forefront of arts practice in Australia and up there as one of the most wonderful festivals in the world. Sydney Festival relies on a mix of government funding; corporate, media and production partnerships; as well as philanthropic giving
Festival Director Lieven Bertels and the Sydney Festival team revealed the full program for Sydney Festival 2014, an explosion of exceptional theatre, dance, music, visual arts, film and more that will bring the harbour city to life from January 9-26.
Sydneysiders and visitors know Sydney Festival is one of the most wonderful summer festivals in the world – a claim underpinned by the city’s lustre and charisma, making it an ideal showcase for the world’s great artists.
The Sydney Festival 2014 is comprised of 104 events, a staggering 21 of which are free. With 372 performances across 33 indoor and outdoor venues, Sydney Festival 2014 features 722 artists from 80 companies across 17 countries. With 10 world premieres, 4 Australian premieres and 13 Australian exclusives, summer in our beautiful city is absolutely not to be missed.
“If you are really into your arts, Sydney Festival will not disappoint, with opera, dance, theatre and music acts from across Australia and the world.” says Festival Director, Lieven Bertels.
Against a backdrop of some of the world’s greatest theatre and dance, new Australian works of magnitude and cultural importance dominate this year’s theatre program. The world premiere of Black Diggers (directed by Wesley Enoch and written by Tom Wright) unfolds the untold stories of 1000 Indigenous soldiers who fought in World War One, whilst Michael Kantor and Tom E. Lewis’ indigenous re-working of King Lear in The Shadow King has recently premiered to a rousing reception by audiences in Melbourne, Australia.
Internationally acclaimed choreographer Shaun Parker returns to the Sydney Festival with the world premiere of Am I, whilst Halina Reijn performs the lead role in the retelling of the 1927 monologue by Jean Cocteau in the voyeuristic La Voix Humaine. Philip Glass presents a live score to Godfrey Reggio’s Visitors to follow its premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and after a five month sell out season on London’s Southbank LIMBO returns to heat up the 1920s Speigeltent in the wildly expanded Festival Village.
A main highlight of the 2014 program is Henry Purcell’s great romantic tragedy Dido & Aeneas in Sasha Waltz’s wondrous reimagining of the great opera, featuring stunning choreography, a prologue performed in a giant fish tank underwater, and celebrated baroque orchestra Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. Reigning queen of contemporary German dance-theatre, Sasha Waltz, stages a radical re-telling of Henry Purcell’s Baroque masterpiece, Dido & Aeneas. The oldest love story in English opera, this tragic tale of unrequited love is brought to life by sixty exceptional dancers, singers and musicians at the Sydney Lyric from 16 to 21 January 2014. Dido & Aeneas is set to be as big an operatic sensation in the 2014 Sydney Festival as Semele Walk was in 2013.
Waltz casts both a dancer and singer in each role and tells the story of Dido, Queen of Carthage, who reluctantly falls in love with the shipwrecked Aeneas. Later, Dido is brutally rejected when he is deceived into leaving her, and she takes her own life.
As it’s the sea that brings Aeneas to Dido and takes him away again, it is not surprising that Waltz uses water as a central motif in her realisation of the myth. Waltz opens the show in a visually arresting fashion – an aquatic prologue, where a giant water tank, almost spanning the entire width of the stage, is raised several metres off the floor. From a ladder, dancers climb to the top of the tank to gaze and point at the audience, and then plunge in ducking, diving and weaving their steps, staying submerged for impossibly long times.
“The initial idea was to follow the track of Aeneas’s sea journey from Troy to Carthage,” said Waltz. “It’s partly to do with the idea of a lost culture – metaphorically we dive to discover it, like looking for a sunken city.”
Waltz’s choreography is always inventive and her sense of theatre is quirky and eye-catching. She incorporates the singers and the musicians into the action and what is sung is illuminated by the dancers. Dido & Aeneas also features eye-catching costumes by Berlin fashion designer Christine Birkle, and is a feast of color, movement and stagecraft for music, dance, opera and theatre lovers alike.
Festival Director, Lieven Bertels, fell in love with the work when he first saw it in Berlin, and says “Sasha is one of the few choreographers of her generation that has such a fantastic talent for large-scale work. Whilst she’s not afraid to zoom in on minute details, to freeze time or to paint delicate water colors, she is at ease on the wide open stages of opera houses, and she knows how to captivate an audience.”
Purcell’s evocative score is performed live by the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin conducted by Christopher Moulds, an esteemed conductor of Baroque music. They are joined by French mezzo-soprano Aurore Ugolin (Dido) British baritone Reuben Willcox (Aeneas), and chamber choir, Vocalconsort Berlin.
Waltz is at the peak of her powers. A choreographer with a prolific output and a relentless touring itinerary, her work has earned her the reputation as one of the most highly regarded dance-theatre makers on the contemporary world stage. In recognition of her Company’s achievements, Sasha Waltz & Guests, celebrating 20 years on stage, was named Cultural Ambassador for the European Union for 2013.
Choreography & Direction: Sasha Waltz
Musical production & reconstruction : ttilio Cremonesi
Musical direction: Christopher Moulds
Stage Thomas: Schenk & Sasha Waltz
Costumes: Christine Birkle
Lighting: Thilo Reuther
Dido Aurore: Ugolin (Song), Yael Schnell: (Dance), Michal Mualem: (Dance)
Aeneas Reuben Willcox: (Song), Virgis Puodziunas: (Dance)
Orchestra: Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Choir: Vocalconsort Berlin
And in Sydney’s famous outdoor venue The Domain, two fantastic free events are set to delight, kicking off with Chicago’s R’n’B, soul and disco diva Chaka Khan on the opening weekend, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra performing Gustav Holst’s astronomical suite The Planets, conducted by Hamburg State Opera Artistic Director Simone Young, to wrap up the Festival and Australia Day with Symphony in the Domain on Sunday 26 January.
In Parramatta in Sydney’s west, the favourite free event Parramatta Opening Party is back with free music and all sorts of festival fun, and everyone’s favourite yellow friend Rubber Duck is back too!
ORGANIZERS ANNOUNCED THE 2014 SYDNEY FESTIVAL PROGRAM OF FREE EVENTS
The best of the city in summer is back with a vengeance as Sydney Festival 2014 returns to its favorite indoor and outdoor venues throughout Sydney, Parramatta and beyond to present a huge and diverse program of free events. Comprised of 104 events, a staggering 21 are free at the 2014 Sydney Festival. There’s no better way to get into the swing of summer in Sydney than by enjoying a free outdoor concert in the heart of the city, with 60,000 of your closest friends.
Headlining Summer Sounds in The Domain and our opening weekend celebrations in style is the disco queen, Chaka Khan. Join us in a singalong extravaganza of hits spanning from the early 70s right up until the present day.
Making our way over to Sydney’s west, imagine a perfect summer night filled with music, street theatre and amazing food. This is Parramatta Opening Party 2014. POP 2014 features cult Melbourne group Boxwars which will create exclusive cars and suits inspired by Mad Max and then smash them up in a display of sheer anarchy at Prince Alfred Park.
The streets will also be alive with the music of Bella Kalolo, Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers, Gordie Mackeeman and more. Parramatta’s newest music club The Lennox (in Riverside Theatres) gets a warm up with Californian jazz trumpeter extraordinaire Ambrose Akinmusire, and as the sun sets soul/funk sensation Lee Fields & The Expressions takes centre stage in Prince Alfred Park to keep the party going ‘til late. Bring the whole family and catch some of the Festival’s hottest acts free on January 10!
At Sydney Festival 2013, Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s 15-metre high yellow Rubber Duck made quite the splash in Darling Harbour, so it’s back for the 2014 Festival. Parramatta residents and visitors are invited to Parramatta Park to get up-close-and-personal with Sydney’s favourite five-storey yellow bird.
Merchants Store may look like an ordinary 19th century Sydney building from afar, until you spot the people dangling from the windows, climbing up the walls and crawling on the roof…The life-size building façade is overshadowed by a giant mirror positioned at a precise 45 degree angle to the ground allowing the general public to play on the building layout, marvelling at their gravity-defying tricks and newfound ability to scale walls and perch on the rooftop. Having previously appropriated the signature styles of Paris in Le Batiment and then London with Dalston House, Merchants Store will see artist Leandro Erlich focus on the fine architectural detailing of one of Sydney’s very own historic buildings associated with Sydney’s mercantile practices and Circular Quay when it was Australia’s principal port.
Taking over a third of our newly expanded Festival Village in Hyde Park, Sacrilege, will be enjoyed equally by kids and kids at heart. Co-commissioned by the Mayor of London and Glasgow International as part of the 2012 Olympic Games cultural program, Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller’s life-size bouncy castle version of Stonehenge has delighted kids of all ages around the UK and is now set to head down under for Sydney Festival 2014.
Immersive installations will pop up across the city during the 2014 Festival including free events FUNPARK and The Very Near Future. The amusement parks that once graced Mount Druitt are long gone, but in January we will be welcoming back the crowds in the serious-minded fun of FUNPARK, whilst at Artspace, The Very Near Future will find you in the backlot with the cast and crew of a film noir in the making. Inviting you to explore the idea that all human life is the result of chance, Christian Boltanski presents his first major Australian installation, Chance. Responding to the architecture and scale of Sydney’s much loved multi arts venue Carriageworks, this immense and complex installation allows you to witness lives unfolding, following the rhythm of births and deaths across the globe.
Bringing highly acclaimed Slovakian artist Roman Ondák’s work to Parramatta Town Hall, Project 28 presented by Kaldor Public Art Projects will feature the riveting and interactive favourite of 13 Rooms, Swap, the beautiful and evolving installation Measuring the Universe (previously presented at MoMA and the TATE London), and a new work Terrace, created especially for Parramatta. Ondák’s work relies on public participation, so get set to make your mark!
For those of you wanting to make your summer nights last, Sydney Festival 2014 is offering all the afterhours entertainment you could want. Of an evening at Sydney’s iconic Town Hall, hit the dance floor of Paradiso at Town Hall with our late night line-up of bands and DJs or kick on outside with your fellow Festival night owls in the Paradiso Terrace Bar.
Three very different artists have been confirmed – The Soft Pink Truth, Andy Votel and Tyondai Braxton – but keep your ear to the ground as more great acts are announced. In Festival Village, Donny Benét returns to Sydney Festival with his show band to host three Friday evenings of free Italo funk disco. Meanwhile outside the Spiegeltent, an array of DJ’s and bands will hit the Festival Village bandstand to carry your evening on through to the wee hours.
And at the new Festival hub Sky Terrace, organizers have prepared all the key ingredients for a great summer night out with free live music, DJs and quirky performances each evening on the roof terrace at The Star in Sydney’s CBD. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of Sky Terrace, where great music and entertainment provide the perfect soundscape to spectacular panoramic views of Sydney.
Back on Australia Day 2014, Ferrython celebrates Sydney’s love for the harbour and its commuter ferries, encouraging both Sydneysiders and visitors to pack a picnic and flock to the foreshore to cheer on their chosen boat as they go head-to-head. To continue the festivities and wrap up the 2014 Festival on January 26 is Symphony in the Domain. Conducted by world-renowned Australian conductor, Simone Young, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra will perform Gustav Holst’s stunning orchestral suite The Planets, an astrological journey through the solar system that takes audiences from fiery Mars to lonesome Neptune. Bring a hamper, a blanket and your friends and family and settle in for a free (and intergalactic!) concert under the stars.
Thed Full Schedule is:
Chance | Christian Boltanski (France)
Festival Village, Friday 10, Friday 17 & Friday 24 January at 11.30pm
FREE, 18+ www.sydneyfestival.org.au/chance
Donny Benét & The Donny Benét Show Band (Australia)
Festival Village, Friday 10, Friday 17 & Friday 24 January at 11.30pm
FREE, 18+ www.sydneyfestival.org.au/donny
Sydney Harbour, Sunday 26 January at 11am
Bidwell Shopping Plaza, Carlisle Avenue, Bidwell, 18 & 19 January from 6pm
Merchants Park | Leandro Erlich (Argentina)
Darling Harbour, 9-23 January 9am-9pm daily
Sydney Town Hall, 16-18, 22-25 January at 11.30pm, 19 & 26 January at 10.30pm
FREE, 18+ www. sydneyfestival.org.au/paradisolates
Project 28 : Roman Ondak (Slovakia)
Parramatta Town Hall, 10 January 10am-10pm, 11-24 January 10am-6pm
Parramatta City Streets and Parks, Friday 10 January 6-11pm
Rubber Duck | Florentijn Hofman (Netherlands)
Parramatta River in Parramatta Park, 10-19 January
Sacrilege | Jeremy Deller (UK)
Festival Village, Preview: 8 January 5-9pm, Season: 9-26 January, 9am-9pm
Except Baby Bounce and Accessibility Sessions: 14 & 21 January, 9-10am
FREE, suitable for all ages, www.sydneyfestival.org.au/sacrilege
The Star Event Centre, 9-26 January 6pm-late daily
Summer Sounds in the Domain | Chaka Khan (US)
The Domain, Saturday 11 January at 8pm
Symphony in the Domain
The Domain, Sunday 26 January at 8pm
The Very Near Future
ARTSPACE, 16 January-16 February 11am-5pm (Closed Mondays & 26 January)